The latest and greatest from Orange Deb's Cheese Making efforts.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Homemade Yogurt 

 1. Get utensils: pot, mixing spoon, measuring spoon, thermometer, Yogotherm.

 2. Get ingredients: 1/2 gal 2% milk, 1/4 C powdered milk,1/8 teas. Yogurt culture (from

 3. Bring 2% milk to 100 degrees F

 4. Add 1/4 C powdered milk

 5. Bring milk to 185 degrees F and keep there for 30 minutes. Can create a water bath in si k and keep at 185 by pouring boiling water as needed. I didnt do this and had a very hard time keeping at 185 but not boiling. This batch had a couple problems. I also added culture here when I was not supposed to just yet.

 6. After 30 minutes let milk cool to 115 degrees F.

7. Add 1/8 teas. yogurt culture (freeze-dried lactic acid bacteria-mild for me) after milk has cooled. For this batch, I actually added it twice because of having added it too early and the milk getting too hot.

8. Pour into Yogotherm to let lactic acid bacteria work. Leave in Yogotherm for 8 hours.

 9. Transfer yogurt from Yogotherm to refrigerator. Keeps 1-2 weeks.

 10. Add fruit and cereal and enjoy. This batch did not have sweetener added and I did need ti add sweetener as it was quite tart. Not as good as my favorite greek yorgurts, but maybe it will be better if I don't make the same mistakes next time.

Friday, August 05, 2011

String Cheese - Batch 15 (I'm not getting any better at this)

1) 12:35 pm ~ 1/4 tablet rennet in 1/4 C of chlorine free water.

2) 12:35 pm ~ 1 1/2 T citric acid in 1 C of chlorine free water. Pour citric acid solution into 1 1/2 G pot.

3) 12:39 pm ~ Pour 1/2 G of LW Dairy Whole milk (dated 8/12/11). Stir vigorously. Add 1/2 G of LW Dairy 2% Milk (dated 8/21/11) and continue stirring.

4) 12:40 pm ~ Heat milk to 90 degrees Fahrenheit while stirring continuously.

5) 12:46 pm ~ Milk is at 90 degrees. Turn off heat, add rennet solution slowly while stirring up and down.

6) 12:46 pm ~ Cover pot and let sit for five minutes.

7) 12:52 pm ~ Check curd. It was not great, but was forming.

8) 12:53 pm ~ Cut curd. I cut larger 1/2 inch cubes than the last batch.

9) 12:57 pm ~ Heat curds and whey to 110 degrees while stirring slowly.

10) 12:57 pm ~ Remove heat and continue stirring for 2-5 minutes.

11) 1:02 pm ~ Pour off whey into other (shorter) pot.

12) 1:04 pm ~ Ladle remaining curds into cheese-cloth lined colander. Fold curds gently as you drain whey.

13) Continue folding until the curds are more dense and have less moisture.

14) 1:05 pm ~ Heat whey bath to 175 degrees.

15) 1:10 pm ~ Put on gloves and start folding the curds in the bath to get them to stretch. The water seems too hot to actually get the curds to that temperature. Maybe, I need new (or better) gloves. I don't know if I ever really got the curds to that temperature. The water was at that temp, and the outside of the curd ball got to the right temperature. But, I never got it really very stringy.

16) Remove from whey bath and stretch while adding salt. I don't know how to get salt added at this stage. The salt is granular and doesn't get into the cheese but instead looks like a salted pretzel.

17) Keep stretching and adding salt.

Maybe, I have been in too much of a hurry on the last two batches. But, I seem to have lost whatever touch I may have had on some of the earlier batches. I can definitely get mozzarella, but making it stringy, salty, and the right texture is still just luck on my part. It keeps tasting like mild farmers cheese with a funny texture and moisture content. Only 17 batches to go in my kit.

Monday, July 25, 2011

String Cheese (NOT) - Batch 14

I set out to make some string cheese to bring to a mini-reunion lunch. But, I waited until the last minute and didn't have milk. I ran to PDQ and bought Kemp's Vitamin D whole milk that was dated Aug 7, 2011. I reread all of the instructions to make sure that I didn't forget anything.

9:05 am ~ Added 1 Gal Kemp's Vitamin D milk and a cup of water with 1 and 1/2 T of citric acid dissolved in it. Turned heat to medium-high.

9:12 am ~ Milk was at 90. Turn off heat and add rennet while stirring slowly in up and down motion for 30 seconds. Cover pot.

9:17 am ~ Check curd. It was not firm at all, but was forming.

9:20 am ~ Check curd. Better, but not great.

9:21 am ~ Cut curd in small cubes (3/8"). Maybe, this was too small. Reheat to 110 degrees while stirring slowly.

9:26 am ~ Take off burner, continue to stir for 5 minutes.

9:31 am ~ Pour off whey into other pot. (Lot of small curd pieces had to be strained with cheesecloth) and whey was not as clear as other times. Pour off the rest of the whey.

Heat whey bath to 180 degrees and place 1/4 of curd ball in bath. Fold until stretchy then let T stretch this part of the curd. I heated and stretched the remaining 3/4 of the curd myself and then cut into similar length pieces.

10:10 am ~ Done. All in all, this batch was a disappointment. The cheese was not stringy and the strips broke or were too soft. It was a little salty and edible if you like bland mozzarella and didn't mind a soft almost crumbly texture.

I brought it to mini-reunion, but we all enjoyed the Sartori Montamore and Gruyere much more. That and our host's delicious spinach and goat cheese tart was excellent.

Thanks Irene, Lynn, Lynne, and T for the great food, friendship, and fun.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

String Cheese - Batch #13

I don't recall batch #12. But, today I tried batch #13. It was hot over 90 degrees F outside, but air conditioned inside.  I started by finding the rennet in the freezer and dissolved 1/4 tablet in 1/4 C of chlorine free water.  I also dissolved 1 1/2 teas. of citric acid in 1 C. chlorine free water.  I added the dissolved citric acid and one gallon of LW Dairy 1% milk in a large pot to bring to 90 degrees.  It took less than 10 minutes to bring the milk from 50 something to 90 degrees.

3:30 pm ~ The milk reached 90 degrees, I turned off the heat and added the rennet slowly, and covered the pot. After waiting 5 minutes, the curd was still not well-formed, so I waited a few more minutes. This time, the curd was formed, but not very firm. I cut the curd all the way to the bottom of the pot and started stirring the curd carefully around the pot as it cooled. The whey was separating nicely.

3:43 ~ I finally remembered to "pour" off the whey first before putting the curds in the cheese cloth. I could have waited even a few more minutes before pouring. But, it worked very well and I was able to save almost all of the whey in the next pot and get all of the curds into the cheese cloth to drain the remaining whey over the sink.
Here's the final ball of curds without its whey. The gloves are for the water (actually the whey) bath which was heated to 180 degrees for cooking the curds.
3:55 ~ The whey bath actually got too hot (almost 200 degrees). I added 1/2 cup of salt to the bath to help salt the cheese. The whey bath worked well as I basically had to simply dunk the curds into the bath and remove them to continue folding.

I split the curds into two balls to work with 1/2 the batch on each stretching. I have found this to be much easier to manage and it makes it easier to control how much the cheese is stretched into strings. I was done stretching, cooling, and cutting the string cheese by 4:20 pm. Thanks "T" for the picture.
Here's the second half of the cheese batch stretched and ready for cutting to length.
It is definitely stringy cheese. I would still like it to be more salty.
The final yield was just shy of one pound. That's pretty good as many times, I have come up short after losing much stuck to the cheese cloth. 12.6 ounces (356 g) after eating a couple of bites.
I think that this is my best string cheese yet. Not the most salty, but good flavor and great stringy-ness. Remembering to drain the whey off the top from the big pot to the smaller pot while keeping the curds in the big pot is a big key. Let the curds cool and remove most whey before spooning curds into a cheese-cloth lined colander. Once the curds have been separated from the whey, it was good to split the batch in half for the stretching and salting part.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Thomas' Cheese (Batch #11)

Denise and Thomas took a later flight home just so we could make some string cheese before they left Wisconsin.  I am so glad that they did.  Batch #11 at Grandma and Grandpa (Donna and Jim) Deppeler's house in Windsor was the best so far and it wouldn't have been the same without Thomas' help and enthusiasm.

We started with LW Dairy 1% milk at 10:30 in the morning. We dissolved 1/4 tablet of rennet in 1/2 C of chlorine free water and we dissolved 1 1/2 t. of citric acid into 1 C of chlorine free water.

10:38 am We put one gallon of milk and the citric acid in the pot on the stove at medium to medium-high heat.  We put the big pot cheese thermometer (from Albert) and stir frequently, but not vigorously until the milk reached 88 degrees Fahrenheit.  At 10:44 it had raised from 45°F to 66°F.

10:50 am We had reached 88°F and we moved the pot off the hot burner and added the rennet.  Thomas stirred in the rennet using an up and down motion and we covered the pot to wait 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes, the curd appeared to be starting to form, but more time was needed.

11:02 am The curd was formed, but a little soft.  We cut the curd in three directions and then used a stainless steel spoon to cut across in layers parallel to the surface of the curd.  The whey was separating nicely from the curd.

11:10 am Time to pour off the whey.  Unfortunately, we forgot to save some whey and we poured all of the whey down the sink.  It would have been better to save about 1 quart for use as our hot water bath that we would need later.  After we poured off as much whey as we could without losing curds, we poured the remaining curds and whey into a cheese-cloth lined colander.

We gently rolled the curds back and forth in the cheese cloth to help release as much whey as we could.  It's so tempting to squeeze the whey out, but to do so would break down the curd structure that we need to make the cheese.

11:25  am We were ready to cook the curds.  We started heating the water bath to 160°F (very hot, but not boiling), we added about 1/2 to 1 C of salt to about 1-2 quarts of water.  Grandma gave us some Grey Sea Salt to use for about 1/2 of the salt.

11:30 am We cut the curds in half so I could show Thomas what to do on the first half and he would be able to cook and stretch the second half of the curds.  This was a good idea and I will make future string cheese in this way.  Working with one half of the curds was much easier for me than my previous efforts with all curds in one batch.

I showed Thomas how to knead the curds into a ball and when it was starting to be easy to stretch and knead it was ready to start stretching for real into string cheese strands.  It took only a few minutes to start stretching and I showed him how to keep submerging the cheese into the hot water to keep it hot, but then to take it out before it got too hot to handle.

11:45 am Thomas is ready to make his first batch of string cheese.  He donned the green-blue "food grade" gloves to protect his hands from the hot water and got the remaining half of the cheese curds.  He did great despite the hot water keeping him moving.  He kneaded the ball until it started being easy to stretch. Then, he started stretching it farther and farther and then folding it back in half.  He did this over and over, placing the stretched and folded cheese back in the water to heat again.  Soon, he had his first tasted of string cheese that he had made himself.

12:00 pm The string cheese was all made.  By 12:10 pm it was all eaten.  It was by far the best batch of string cheese so far.  The string cheese was perfectly salted and we got close to a pound of string cheese from the gallon of milk we started with.

Thanks Thomas, Denise, Mom, and Dad for the great string cheese making event.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Batch #10

Blue Marble 2% Milk (Sell By date: 8/7/9). The air temp was 80 degrees and the relative humidity was 45% when I started batch 10 at 6:00 pm. 6:00 Dissolve 1/4 tablet in 1/4 cup of non-chlorinated water 6:05 Dissolve 1/2 tablespoon of citric acid granules in one cup of non-chlorinated water 6:10 Add milk to pot 6:10 Add citric acid solution and turn on heat 6:11 Milk was 40 degrees 6:12 Milk was 55 degrees 6:14 Milk was 70 degrees 6:15 Milk was 75 degrees 6:16 Milk was 80 degrees 6:17 Milk was 85 degrees 6:18 Milk at 90 degrees. Turn off heat and slowly add rennet, cover pot, and wait. 6:20 Get colander, salt, and cold water bath ready. 6:23 Check curd. It was forming well, but I wanted to wait one more minute. 6:24 Cut curd. It cut very nicely, but hard to cut cross ways as always. 6:26 Start reheating to 110 degrees. 6:29 Not at 110, but curds were melting into each other. Turned off heat. 6:30 Whey poured off easily. Curds were in one melty mass. 6:31 Reheat whey bath for stretching 6:32 Folded curd twice in the colander to let remaining whey out. 6:33 The cheese ball was pretty firm and already pretty shiny. 6:35 Started stretching the ball. It stretched easily and I was almost done before I remembered the salt. 6:38 Done stretching and in the cold water bath. 6:39 13 ounces of nice looking (low salt) string cheese. 6:40 Took photos. 6:42 Sprinkled salt on outside of cheese and packed in container. This cheese looks pretty good, but is not nearly salty enough for me.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Batch #9 (Never Happened)

I dissolved the rennet and citric acid and started getting other things ready. Then, I forgot what was what and put a measuring spoon that had citric acid or milk or something (from batch #8) in the rennet measuring cup. It got really cloudy and I didn't want to risk a gallon of milk on this rennet. So, I dumped it and started over.

Batch #8

Batch 8 went very well. I used "Farmers Creamery" ORGANIC Whole milk that had a "Sell by" date of 8/7/9. There was very nice curd after only five minutes. I cut the curd easily and reheated to 110 degrees. I even remembered to cool and stir slowly for 2-5 minutes. I had a cold water bath waiting for when I was done stretching the curd. I folded the curd about five times in and out of the hot whey bath. It was working well and getting shiny. It was kind of smooth, but little tears kept it from being really smooth. I was worried that more folding would make this happen more, so I stopped folding and added some salt and started stretching. It mostly worked well, but the splitting along the sides kept happening. It seemed salty enough until I put it back in the cold water. That seemed to water the cheese down. So, I won't do that again. Tajenay liked it enough to eat a whole piece. Not quite good enough to be real proud of, but good enough that all 13 ounces of yield have been eaten.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Batch #7 (Oops)

I made batch 7 with LW Dairy milk again. It was milk from last Wednesday, but still a week away from its "Best if used by" date. We also had 1 1/2 C less than 2 gallons of milk so I tried to adjust the citric acid and rennet amounts. I also put a bowl of cold water in the refrigerator so that I would have it for when the cheese was formed. The curd didn't look like it was formed, but it was a little so I started to cut it. When I cut the curd, it was actually formed better than it was for batch 6. I heated it back up to 110 and then turned off the heat and got ready to pour off the whey. I started and then realized that I needed to wait a few minutes before pouring. I stopped and waited, but not really in time and I still lost a fair amount of curd to the cheese cloth. I don't know why I'm forgetting this step, other than I've gotten excited about the curd that I have. I am still struggling with how to get salt into the cheese. I was able to get many small strings of cheese. This cheese tastes more smooth and creamy than the other batches have. It looks like string cheese and Tajenay tried it and liked it a little. I'd better keep trying... I guess! 7/29/09 ~ This batch and batch 6 did not store well at all. The "strings" melted together into a large mass in the container and didn't taste any better than they looked.

VERY STRINGY Cheese ~ Batch #6

1:47 pm Dissolved 1/4 tablet rennet in 1/4 C water 1:47 Dissolved 1 1/2 t citric acid in 1 C water 1:55 Poured 1 Gal Blue Marble Whole milk (Sell by date 7/10) in pot 1:56 Added dissolved citric acid to milk and started heating to 90 degrees 2:03 Temperature of milk at 90 degrees. Turned off heat, added dissolved rennet, and covered. 2:08 Check curd. Excellent separation of curd and whey. 2:09 Cut curd. 2:10 Slowly stir curd while bring back up to 110 degrees. The curd started to melt and stick to each other. 2:12 Poured curds and whey into cheese cloth lined colander. The curds stuck to the cheese cloth right away. Difficult to get the whey to drain off. 2:15 Continued trying to squeeze the whey out. Lots of curd stuck to cloth, but rest of cheese was very easy to work with and was stringy almost from the start. 2:25 Have very stringy cheese with mild flavor. I think that I stirred too long after getting curd. The curds started melting together. Then, they stick to cheese cloth. Lots of stringy pieces, almost too stringy.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Batch #5 was a step backward

Batch 5 milk was from LW Dairy and was pasteurized at 168 degrees. Otherwise, it was very fresh milk and had been delivered early in the morning. I was filming with our video camera while I was making it, so some steps may not have gotten the attention they deserved. The curd never really set up as it did in batch #3 or especially as in batch #4. I continued as if it would work. It seemed a little like batch #2 (the brain cheese). The taste and texture was similar to batches 1 and 2. Definitely, a step backwards from batch 3 and 4. I'm not sure if it's my process or the milk being pasteurized at the slightly higher than 165.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Batch #4 is best so far

It looks like string cheese and it tastes like string cheese. The only problem with this batch is the low yield. Due to my excitement at curds and whey after only 5 minutes, I wasn't quite ready to get the whey poured off. I started to pour and a few curds went with the whey. Then, I poured the whole mixture into my cheese cloth lined colander. But, the four layers (I didn't think this would matter) of cheese cloth kept the whey from escaping and some of the curd stuck to the cloth. By the time I got the cheese cloth pulled apart so the whey could escape, the curd had started to melt and was sticking to the cloth pretty tight. It just wasn't a clean separation. I put 1/4 C. of salt in the whey I poured off and used this for my hot water bath. The gloves I bought worked great and I was able to knead and stretch the cheese in and out of the hot water bath pretty easily. I stretched and folded the cheese about 4-5 times and then started stretching into the strings and placing on our sycamore cutting board. Very pretty string cheese this time and tasty too thanks to the salt.

Friday, June 05, 2009

String Cheese - Batch #3

It's really pretty fun to make cheese. I used two 1/2 gallon bottles of Farmers Creamery milk. The expiration date was 6/1/9, and the cream had hardened at the top of the bottle. But, it worked the best so far. I put the citric acid in the pot before the milk (how had I missed that instruction before). I had a slight misstep when I used the spoon from the citric acid in the dissolving rennet. But, the minor contamination of each that resulted must not have been too bad to ruin the process of either. After adding the rennet and waiting five minutes, the curd was very soft and I wasn't sure if it would work at all. I started seeing whey "seep" up through the curd a minute or two later. At ten minutes, I cut the curd and saw the most distinct contrast between curds and whey that I have seen so far. I was actually able to pour off the whey as the instructions call for. Then, I ladled soft but clear curds into the cheese-cloth lined collander and started heating the whey up. I put 1 T of salt into the 1/2 gallon or more of whey. As I started folding the curds, the whey just kept coming out. I am still unsure how "hard" to work the cheese. The instructions say "knead" like dough, but I'm afraid of breaking the curd into small pieces. I left the burner on the whey to keep it hot enough and wore rubber gloves to put the curd ball in and out of the water. I could not fold the curd under the hot water as called for due to the heat. I'll need better rubber gloves to do this step properly. But, it worked. The cheese started being stretchable and I was able to keep stretching it until it got very long and thin. Next, I'll have to find some way to stretch it in nice uniform thickness. I put the stretched curd in cold water and added some ice cubes. All total, it was 45 minutes from start to finished cheese. I'm getting faster. Final thoughts: "Old Farmer's Creamery milk is fresher and better for cheese making than generic whole milk brands." "The art of a cheesemaker is not in making cheese, but in making cheese that someone else would want to buy for enough money to cover expenses and a living wage." "It costs me approximately $8 to make one pound of mozzarella cheese and that does not include pay for my making and cleaning time or for the cost of water for the cleaning."

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Brain Cheese - Batch Two

I made my second batch of cheese on 6/4/09 from one gallon of Kemps Vitamin D Whole Milk with an expiration date of 6/10/09. I let the rennet dissolve for over 20 minutes, but there were still some granules in the water. I added the citric acid and started bringing the milk to 90 degrees at 10:00am. It took about 10 minutes to get to 90 degrees and I may have overshot the mark slightly. I removed the pot from the heat, added the rennet and mixed up and down for 30 seconds, covered the pot and let sit for 5 minutes (10:05-10:09 am). After five minutes, there was really no curd to speak of. It was even less than I saw after five minutes for my first batch. But, I decided to wait more and see if it changed. At 10:22, I cut the curd that was there, but it was very soft and not much different than the whey. At 10:30, I ladled the curd mixture into a cheese-cloth lined colander and added 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and folded the curd over a couple of times to get more whey out. I folded it a few times, but could not knead the curd because it broke apart too much. I tried to put the curd ball in hot (170 degree) water, but it still wouldn't stick together to be kneaded. I put it in the microwave for 36 seconds, but still it was just a big chunk of tiny curd chunks. It never got stretchy or smooth or shiny. I formed the curd into as small a curd ball as I could. Then, I put it in cold tap water and added ice. The photo is of the brain cheese ball I made. I tasted a slice of my cheese #2. Thanks to the salt it actually tasted better than cheese #1 did. Some final thoughts: "You can do the right things and it still might not work. Blame the milk!" "The look does NOT determine the taste." "Good cheese has both good taste and good looks. I hope I make some good cheese some day." We did have some of each batch of cheese on a dinner salad tonight. Each batch is edible, but nothing to brag about. Twenty-Eight batches to go.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Making Cheese - Batch One

I bought a cheese-making kit from and tried a batch tonight with Target's Market Fresh brand of whole milk (with vitamin D). The expiration date was June 9th. It basically worked, but the texture and taste is not great. It's edible, but it's dry and crumbles instead of stretches, and needs salt (at a minimum) to taste good. It tastes very bland (below mild) even for mozzarella cheese. It took a little over an hour from dissolving the rennet to putting the cheese balls in cold water and there are several things I must remember before trying a second batch. 1. Make sure I have chlorine free water (I'm not sure if I did this time). 2. Make a thermometer hanger so I don't have to hold it in center of pot. 3. Start rennet dissolving about 20 minutes (?) before I want to use it. Ten minutes was not enough for it to be completely dissolved. 4. Cut the curd in diagonal cuts (from top), skipping the vertical cut which made the curd too small (I think). 5. Add salt at start of cheese folding process. 6. Get rubber gloves for the cheese folding step (180 degrees is very hot). 7. Get rinse water to 180 degrees, 140 degrees was not hot enough. 8. Stop folding cheese when it gets smooth and shiny. I think that I kept folding and stretching too long. 9. Use an ice water bath once complete (cold tap water may not have been cold enough to stop process). I have 29 more batches to try. :)